Reefer Madness: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Not Linked to Crime?


Lots of pot news this morning!

Though New York might reform weed regs, the Feds have continued their crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries elsewhere — most recently, they filed court docs to shut down three dispensaries near Los Angeles — but new research puts to question law enforcement’s crime concerns.

Here’s what’s up: UCLA researchers wanted to know whether areas around California pot dispensaries suffered from the same sociological problems as similar areas in Europe.

According to the predominant criminological theory, these stores ruin neighborhoods, as pot attracts criminals; purchases might get carried out with cash (which perps also gravitate toward); and customers will probably carry cash, but will be too weak to defend themselves from thieves because of medical ailments.

Two public policy analysts decided to study the scene in Sacramento, analyzing crime data before and after municipal approval of dispensaries.

What they found?

Crime tended to be higher in areas with unemployment, young people, and commercial zoning, but those factors were not related to the presence of marijuana clinics in a neighborhood. The researchers caution, however, that there are a lot of complex factors at play, and want to track the data across the U.S. more thoroughly.

[H/T L.A. Times]